Buckeye sweeps Bellaire in volleyball

CONNORVILLE It was senior night at Buckeye Local and the Lady Panthers sent their four graduating volleyball teammates off with a win thanks to a sweep of visiting Bellaire, 25-16, 25-23 and 26-24.

It’s just the third win for Buckeye this season and first-year head coach Janelle Windsheimer was pleased with her squad’s performance.

“Tonight we displayed the best team work we have seen all year,” said Windsheimer. “The difference tonight was that when we were down, we did not give up, we were able to get back up.”

The final score may not reflect that observation however the hosts would be challenged after taking the early advantage as the Bellaire rallied back to close the gap to 14-15. Buckeye Local outscored the Big Reds 11-2 to rally for their first win of the night.

Buckeye trailed Bellaire through the first half of the second set 13-7 before making a comeback bid. The Panthers rallied back to close the gap and knotted it at 15 all. The Big Reds would pull even and then regain the lead 22-21 before Buckeye pushed ahead to take the 2-0 advantage.

In the third set, the two were balanced again battling to an 18 on both sides of the scoreboard but this time it was Bellaire rallying out to a 21-18 lead. Once again the Panthers would not go down and fought back as the two were again knotted at 22, 23 and 24 before Buckeye Local scored the final two for the sweep.

“All season long it seemed like we were content just to push it back over the net,” Windsheimer said of her Panthers. “Tonight we were hustling, we were swinging away at the ball.”

Pacing Buckeye Local at the net were senior Preslie Renforth and Kierstyn Czuchran with seven kills each. Renforth added nine points with four aces and five digs while Czuchran also posted a block and a pair of digs. Defending the back court were Becky Zeroski and senior Morgan Staten. Zeroski dug up 19 while Staten had 14 digs, four kills and two assists. Senior Lexus Fedorko contributed nine assists, nine points, four kills and four digs.

The fourth senior Nicolette Devore added seven assists, six digs, seven points with three aces and one block.

“Give Buckeye credit,” said a disappointed Bellaire head coach Kaye Sechrest. “They played well tonight.”

Elisha Gillespie paced the Beg Reds at the net with six kills, Morgan Runyan added three spikes, 12 points and 10 digs. Mary Garloch set six assists while Tori Duffy was top server with 18 points for Bellaire, which drops to 8-11.

The Panthers will travel to Martins Ferry on Thursday while Bellaire will honor its seniors that night as it hosts Barnesville in their final regular season contest with a freshman game beginning at 5 pm.

Palmer can be reached at